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Manchester's Circle Square: What's happening next?

With a contractor now selected for the next phase of the £750m Circle Square project, what’s next at the former BBC site in Manchester?

Circle Square, situated on the former site of the BBC’s Broadcasting House on Oxford Road in Manchester, is moving forward at speed.

The project, backed by developers Bruntwood and Select Property Group, will see its second building start on site in August this year after the appointment of Sisk as construction partner.

The 2.3m sq ft Circle Square masterplan is split into five phases to be delivered over a 10-year period – but what else does it have in store?

What’s already happening?

Wates was the first contractor to start on the site, and the firm is currently building two student accommodation blocks under Select Property’s Vita Student brand. This forms phase 1A of the overall development.

These will provide 216,000 sq ft of student housing and amenity space, with 604 apartments and communal hubs including media rooms, a gym, private dining areas, lounges, social areas and private study areas.

The next project to get under way will be the two PRS blocks that form part of phase 1B, which will provide 677 private rented apartments.

John Sisk & Son was picked as main contractor for this part of Circle Square and is due to start on the £247m project in August this year.

Sisk select property affinity living circle square

Sisk select property affinity living circle square

Sisk will build the £247m Affinity Living buildings which form part of phase 1b

What’s next at Circle Square?

Phase 1B is the largest of the project’s five phases and will include a number of other major developments alongside Sisk’s PRS scheme.

Chief among these is No 2 Circle Square: a 305,000 sq ft commercial development earmarked to get under way in Q3 this year.

A 1,070-space multi-storey car park also forms part of phase 1B. The car park will have 74,200 sq ft of budget hotel space above providing 150 rooms, and is due to start on site during the current quarter.

Away from phase 1B, phase two of the scheme, which fronts Charles Street on the north side, is led by a commercial plot that will provide 270,000 sq ft of office space. It is due to get under way in autumn this year.

Phase 1C of the masterplan (pictured below) contains two potential developments. The first, a 90,000 sq ft student accommodation plot on the plan’s Oxford Road frontage, is due to get under way in Q3 this year and will be marketed under Select Property’s Vita Student brand.

The other part of phase 1C is towards the rear of the site and is set to provide more hotel space – this time as a boutique hotel.

Bruntwood Circle Square Manchester phase 1c CGI 3

Bruntwood Circle Square Manchester phase 1c CGI 3

Phase 1c includes student accommodation on the project’s Oxford Road frontage

The future

Phase 1B also includes another major commercial scheme, No 1 Circle Square, which will produce another 221,000 sq ft of commercial space.

However, this part of the job is much further down the track, with an expected start date of Q1 2019.

Looking beyond 2020, Circle Square’s masterplan also includes two more commercial buildings: 1A and 1B.

But again, construction of these two buildings – slated to provide 335,000 sq ft and 243,000 sq ft of commercial space respectively – is not due to get under way until Q1 2022, with a build programme of three years.

The masterplan is scheduled to be two-thirds complete by 2019, but Circle Square will still provide ample opportunities for contractors to win work through to 2020 and beyond.

Bruntwood Circle Square Manchester phase 1c CGI 2

Bruntwood Circle Square Manchester phase 1c CGI 2

  • Manchester Circle Square_ Bruntwood

    Manchester's Circle Square: What's happening next?

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